For the first time in NCAA football history, Haley Van Voorhis became the first female player to appear in an NCAA football game in a non-kicker capacity. This is an enormous step for women in collegiate athletics. She appeared in the first quarter of Shenandoah University's game against Juniata and partook in a quarterback hurry.
Van Voorhis, a junior standing at 5 feet and 6 inches and weighing 145 pounds, participated in junior varsity for the previous two seasons. Hailing from Plains, Virginia, she attended Christchurch High School and received an Honorable Mention for All-State in 2019.
Unfortunately, her senior year was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in its cancellation. Despite this hurdle, Van Voorhis was able to leverage her talent and secure a Division III scholarship, joined Shenandoah, and earned the right to play in an NCAA game.
While speaking to the media, Haley Van Voorhis stated the following: “There's definitely people out there who see the story and think, ‘This girl's going to get hurt.' I hear that a lot. Or, ‘She's too small, doesn't weigh enough, not tall enough.' But I'm not the shortest on my team, and I'm not the lightest.”
There have been a few female kickers to appear in NCAA football games, including Sarah Fuller who was the first to appear in a Power 5 game. The first of which, of course, was Katie Hnida, who appeared as a placekicker for New Mexico and became the first to score in a Division I-A football game. However, Van Voorhis has broken down barriers for women who aspire to play a position that is traditionally known as more prestigious in the game of football.
Perhaps there will soon be a world in which there are multiple female players participating in collegiate football, thanks to Van Voorhis who has paved the way.